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BÂ’A – Deus qui non mentitur

BÂ’A
Deus qui non mentitur
by Gary Hernandez at 19 May 2020, 9:41 AM

While it’s hard to trace the origin of any genre of metal, most would agree that Black Metal took root in France in the 1990’s and the Second Wave of Black Metal with the LÉGIONS NOIRES collective leading the French assault. From that point forward BM in France exploded into the myriad of subgenres we’re familiar with (Melodic, Avant-Gard, Depressive, Symphonic, Blackgaze, etc.). BÂ’A is both a component and result of this dynamic mix. Forming in 2017, the band released a split in 2018 with VERFALLEN and HYRGAL. On April 24, 2020 they issued their first full-length album, “Deus qui non mentitur” (trans: the god who does not lie).

The album is on the short side, clocking in at just over thirty-six minutes across six tracks. Two of those tracks are an intro and outro, which together eat up two minutes, so, yeah, brevity. The album begins predictably enough with “Transept” (transept, btw, is the short cross bar of a cross) which features atmospheric synths, a clanging bell, a raging storm, and even some eerie spoken word. At some point in metal, the church bell intro either becomes iconic or cliché. Contrast this with the outro, aptly titled, “Outro” (called out as “Mort” by some sources) which features buzzing flies, disturbing synth work, and percussion that may be a single drum beat or the closing of a coffin. There is also some creepy choir thing going on, though it may be more synth. Either way, the operative word here is creepy. My point is the outro is riveting while the intro is tired.

The crux of the album, tracks two through five, bear homage to a wide range of Black Metal influences including FW, SW, Atmospheric, and probably a few places in-between. These tracks come across as more of a performative experience than a barrage of metal. I mean, you’re not likely hit the mosh with this stuff so much as sit back and contemplate the vileness of existence. Take track three, “The Procession,” for instance. Mid-track we are treated to two minutes of spoken word dialogue in French which then transitions to several more minutes of a manic monologue. All of this is performed against the backdrop of heavily distorted, mid-ranged tremolo. The movement is interesting enough and comes across as a bleak musical as opposed to a metal assault. And that’s fine, if that’s what you came to town for.

The production is on the lo-fi end of the spectrum, but not so stripped that you’re left with indecipherable static. Surprisingly, piano flourishes, chimes, and smooth bass lines float through the carnage lending a spacious and melodic, if not Symphonic, air. The acrid, spitting vocals also add to this effect. There are also moments when the drum work breaks the blast beat mold and explores a more graceful and sophisticated rhythm. These are good moments and underscore the fact that this isn’t some guy recording noise in his basement but rather three very talented musicians perfecting their craft.

My favorite tracks come late in set. Track four, “Des profondeurs je crie” (trans: from the depths I cry), traverses a wide range of approaches including crushing riffs, acoustic melodies, solemn choirs, and stunning percussion. Track five, “Un bûcher pour piédestal” (trans: pyre for pedestal) is the heaviest track and very much hearkens back to SWBM. The best part comes at the 5:30 mark when the band breaks into a massive build of riff heavy BM which in the end deconstructs back to its base components before segueing to the outro.

BÂ’A brings together three astute French Black Metal artists who have created a darkly engaging treatise with “Deus qui non mentitur.” The songwriting is intelligent, the musicianship exceptional, and the overall ambiance disturbing and evocative. Some good stuff out of France.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 5



 

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Transept
2. Titan
3. Procession
4. Des profondeurs je crie
5. Un bûcher pour piédestal
6. Mort
Lineup:
Rms Hreidmarr – Vocals
Emmanuel Zuccaro – Drums
Maximilien Brigliadori – Guitars, Bass
Record Label: Osmose Productions
     


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